Got soul?

A work in progress: The Las Vegas-based soul-hip-hop duo Camra has only played a handful of shows, officially anyway, but its two members have performed together a bunch of times by making guest appearances during each other’s sets. The group consists of former Sacramento rapper Rasar, who relocated to Las Vegas a couple of years ago, and soul singer and acoustic guitarist Cameron Calloway. The two met on the Las Vegas open-mic circuit and hit it off immediately.

Rasar just played Sacramento a few months ago with his group Bread Fam at Harlow’s Restaurant & Nightclub, opening for Joseph in the Well—it was an excellent gig. Camra makes for a much more informal, stripped down affair, but the June 21 show at Dive Bar was nonetheless great. This marked Calloway’s first show in Sacramento ever, and for a Tuesday night in Sacramento, the event was well attended.

Rasar made sure to bring several hometown friends to make guest appearances throughout the 45-minute performance. Cameos included James Cavern, Joseph in the Well’s Joe Kye, and the Vallejo-based soul singer Zyah Belle.

The duo opened its set with a couple of songs including an original as well as a cover of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy”—which was a good choice, as Calloway’s voice isn’t that far removed from CeeLo Green’s soulful tenor. Throughout the night, Calloway strummed an acoustic guitar and sang as Rasar rapped, and took care of most of the between-song stage banter.

The two musicians are, in a lot of ways, direct opposites: Calloway is a soft spoken, laid back, smooth-as-butter soul singer. Rasar is a gregarious ham and gifted rapper, the kind of performer who immediately draws a crowd’s attention.

One of the evening’s highlights happened midway through the set when Kye joined Rasar on stage. The two guys played “Happy Song,” a track on Joseph in the Well’s 2015 self-titled EP (which Rasar rapped on). Kye laid down layers of lush violin loops with Kye and Rasar taking turns on the vocals. On record it’s a unique and gorgeous track and the two pulled it off live really well.

It would be interesting to catch Camra again further down the road. Their collaboration still seems like a work in progress, and a lot of the show’s material came from their respective solo work. But if the two artists can further emphasize and highlight their very different styles and approaches to music, they’ll have a unique project that transcends traditional musical genres.

—Aaron Carnes

Living rage: Local hardcore band Cross Class released a new EP on Sunday, and despite it only lasting just short of seven minutes, that’s more than enough time for it to snap your neck.

The EP, called Minimum Rage, blitzes through topics such as drug abuse, suburban living and J.R.R. Tolkien in its nine blistering tracks. It crackles with lo-fi energy that lightly obscures just how tightly written the songs are, and while each track kills, the smooth transitions make it obvious that the EP is meant to be consumed in full.

Cross Class is relatively new on the scene, having played its first show in November of last year. From the beginning, the band put high-impact passion up front, with vocalist Ian Kappos constantly showing no hesitation when it comes to diving into the pit with a microphone in his face.

Cross Class has frequently played with bands like Stockton’s xMalcomx and Sacramento’s xTom Hanx and always came out swinging, putting on electrifying shows every time. Meanwhile, the band has yet to give in to peer pressure and denies the urge to put an “x” on either side of its name.

For now, you can find the EP on Bandcamp ( and on tape. Follow them at for news on upcoming shows.

Full disclosure: I worked closely with Kappos on a piece to be published in an upcoming literary journal of his called Milkfist (co-published by bassist Derek Tollefson). It’s also worth noting that I’ve been enjoying Cross Class since the band’s first show, before I got to know Kappos. Give the band a listen and judge for yourself whether I’m biased here.

—Anthony Siino